German Law Blocks Emirates' Future Flights to Berlin

Emirates' launch of a Dubai-Berlin service is still being hindered by a 1994 Germany-UAE Air Service Agreement.



October 18, 2023

DALLAS — Prominent Middle Eastern airline Emirates (EK) has expressed its interest in launching a service between Dubai (DXB) and Berlin (BER). However, the airline has encountered legal obstacles in introducing this new route to the capital of Germany.

Tim Clark, the president of EK, and the Mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey, discussed the situation regarding this connection during a meeting. Clark's position is that the airline firmly believes in the potential of Berlin and Brandenburg as successful destinations for long-haul flights. He expressed hope that the airline would be able to operate in Berlin in the future.

The issue the carrier faces is related to the Germany-UAE Air Services Agreement, which was signed in 1994. This agreement restricts the airline to serving only four destinations in Germany simultaneously, and all of these slots are currently filled.

As of October 2023, EK operates flights between Dubai Airport and Frankfurt (FRA), Munich (MUC), Dusseldorf (DUS), and Hamburg (HAM). These routes result in a total of 28 frequencies between all the cities, with daily operations utilizing Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft.

Berlin Airport Tail Combo BER EDDB
Since the bankruptcy of Interflug in 1991, Berlin has not seen one premium airline base its operations at this large airport. Photo: Flughafen Berlin.

Berlin's Eastward Connections

Berlin's new Brandenburg Airport (BER) has faced significant challenges in its journey towards a successful launch. The airport's opening was riddled with delays, spanning a period of nine years until 2020. These delays hindered Berlin's ability to establish itself as a reliable destination for airlines, particularly from the East.

As of now, the German capital only has two long-haul Asian routes, operated by Hainan Airlines (HU) from Beijing (PEK) and Scoot Airlines (TR) from Singapore (SIN).

Berlin has a stronger presence in the Middle East, with direct flights to Istanbul (IST), Baku (GYD), and Doha (DOH), served by the respective home airlines of these cities. However, no premium service airlines have selected Berlin as their base, and the airport is largely dominated by low-cost European carriers such as Ryanair (FR), EasyJet (U2), and Eurowings (EW).

While customers eagerly await the approval of Emirates' Dubai-to-Berlin flight, an alternative direct service to a Middle Eastern city is currently offered by Eurowings (EW) four times a week. However, this service is scheduled to cease operations in April of next year.

Featured image: Emirates